NEW JERSEY counter culture
A taste of yesteryear

New Jersey, or simply ‘Jersey’ to those who know it well, is the magnetic north of the American diner world. It boasts almost 600 classic roadside eateries—the most of any state—including numerous showstoppers from the 1940s and 50s, the diner’s golden age. Jersey City, Newark and a huddle of ‘smalltowns’, such as Lyndhurst and Rutherford in the Meadowlands, merge to create a belt of interconnected cities which bulges with unmissable diners. Many are vintage “lunch cars” which shine from daybreak to nightfall, reflecting the morning sun in their mid-century chrome bodywork and after dark flashing with Technicolor neon. If Jewish Jerseyites are known for fine delis, and Italian cafes are behind the iconic local ‘pizza pie’, the second half of the twentieth century saw Greek families establish themselves as the driving force behind these restaurants… Just look at the (often epic!) menu of any given diner, alongside the ubiquitous burgers and meatloaf, other must-have Jersey diner dishes include pita-wrapped gyros and Greek salad.
First published 2024

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